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Stems

Race Face Deus stem

We don’t ask a great deal of the humble handlebar stem, really. Just that it holds the steerer at one end and the bar at the other and doesn’t break or flex unduly. You can get something to do the job for twenty quid. So why pay more? Two reasons, really. Extra money gets some extra attention to detail that makes a stem work just a little bit better for longer. And it’s one of the most visible bits of the bike and therefore a prime candidate for a bit of pimpiness.

You’d expect a company like Race Face to have a smart stem in their range, and so they do. The Deus is RF’s XC stem. Given Race Face’s reputation for beefy parts it’s no surprise that the Deus isn’t the lightest stem out there, but it’s under 200g which is none too shabby. It’s a one-piece design in 7075 aluminium. The bar clamp end features a four bolt bar clamp that interlocks with the front of the stem. The design means that the bar is largely supported directly by the stem rather than the bolts, and the faceplate is mainly just holding the bar in rather than up as well. Behind the bar clamp there’s some funky “gun port” detailing running into the extension. It’s generally round, with logo-bearing flats machined into the sides. At the back there’s a fairly conventional two-bolt steerer clamp, although the two bolts run in opposite directions. We’re not sure if that actually makes any real difference but it adds a pleasing symmetry if nothing else.

The whole thing is beautifully finished (there’s a choice of four colours) and looks great. Naturally, it works – we’re not going to pretend we can detect massive stiffness benefits, but it’s certainly adequately stout (it’s been parked on the front of a singlespeed with all the bar hefting that that implies), fits without fuss (no excessive heaving on bolts required) and hasn’t developed any creaks or groans. Other less visible but no less useful features include a huge range of sizes from an upright and stumpy 15 degree, 70mm to a flat out and retro 5 degree 130mm and most points in between, and a three year warranty.

Verdict: The Deus isn’t a cheap stem, but it’s very reasonably priced compared to its high end competition and we can’t fault the function. Recommended.

Performance: 5/5
Value: 4/5
Overall: 5/5

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